Updated my Treo 680 to software 2.11

Finally got around to installing the 2.11 update released in December. The coolest new addition is the instant messaging application which allows you to connect to Yahoo, AOL, and Microsoft IM networks.

I haven’t played with it enough to come to any conclusion on whether stability is any better (my phone often reboots when I answer it!) or if the Web browser is any smarter (it doesn’t seem to be very good about using its cache).

My new PocketPC – sort of

Pocket PC emulator

Someday I’m probably going to take the plunge and replace my Treo 650 with some kind of Windows Mobile device, since the Windows Mobile devices always seem to have more features like 3G, WiFi, Bluetooth 2.0, and a nice amount of RAM. Actually, “someday” might’ve gotten a bit sooner after yesterday, when my wife called me on my Treo and the device crashed and reset when I answered the call.

I’ve long been a Palm user though and when I’ve played with Windows Mobile in the store, I’ve never really felt comfortable with it. And I’d need to find new apps to replace things like Sudoku, Directory Assistant, FlightStatus, etc.

So I thought that I’d download an emulator and play with it a bit to see if I could get comfortable with the interface and the available apps.

The emulator is decent, but somewhat annoying to install. First, I had to find this page and then download the emulator and the images, which are separate downloads. Then I could install the emulator. But before you can install the images, it turns out you to have to install the Virtual Machine Network Driver for Microsoft Device Emulator. Then I ran the program but found that it would crash on startup in Virtual PC on my PowerBook. So then I repeated the process on my wife’s Windows laptop and finally, it worked.

Treo 650 improvised antenna

A few days ago, my Treo 650 fell on to pavement and the antenna snapped off. I ordered a new short antenna from TreoAntenna.com but in the meantime, I’ve managed to get good reception by clipping an alligator clip with a short length of wire on to the point on the circuit board where the antenna connects. Originally, I had the other clip connected to the antenna itself, but it fell off and I realized that reception was just as good without it.

Treo with an alligator clip antenna

Treo busted!

Well unfortunately last night, my Treo 650 fell out of my jacket pocket on to the pavement. The battery cover and battery went flying – no big deal as that’s happened before and it’s easily put back. The bigger problem is that the little stubby antenna snapped off. Now the reception is really, really sporadic. I can get service in some spots but not in a lot of others that previously worked, like the inside of my house. I guess I could get a little Torx bit and open it up and then see if it can be reconnected with solder and glue, but maybe this is a good excuse to upgrade!

I briefly looked at some of the new GSM phones, such as the Samsung Blackjack, Motorola Q, and the Blackberry Pearl, but the one that seemed to have the best set of features for me was the Cingular 8525. 3G (UMTS/HSDPA), Wi-fi, Bluetooth 2.0, A2DP, 2 megapixel camera, and a Mini-USB port for charging. I haven’t yet gone to a store to check out these phones in person, though, and it’s quite possible that my preference will change a lot after I do that.

I guess there’s the iPhone too, but I don’t know how I feel about a device that is all touchscreen and no buttons. I’m tactile. I like buttons.

Any others I should look at?